Birthdays are exciting. In my world, they are not a single-day thing: the whole week is an excuse for celebration. This is much harder to achieve when working full-time, I have found. Work schedules do not always coincide, and creating surprises and delightful moments can be quite the feat.
I am lucky in that I have a supportive honey and wonderful boss who allow me the leeway to go out of my way to deliver yummies.
Last year for Leslie’s birthday, I made a yogurt cake with blackberry sauce – an understatedly rich cake. This year I went with something a bit lighter and healthier. It’s been rather warm this week (I know, I really should expect this in June in California, but apparently I’m still getting used to the novelty of it), and fruit sounded so good. I did attempt to kick this tart up a notch by using chocolate mousse as my base, but for whatever reason it just didn’t come together right – so I went with my also awesome backup plan of Honey Orange greek yogurt combined with crème fraîche. I may attempt to mousse this weekend, or perhaps in the future. I’m not terribly a fan of chocolate with fruit (I just don’t see the draw of chocolate-covered strawberries, and yes I have tried it), but I think that particular twist on it would be appealing to at least some people.
Fresh Berry Tart
prep time: 2+ hrs.
1 1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
3-8 tbsp iced water
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and rub in using your fingertips, until fine crumbs form. (You can also perform this step and the following in a food processor.)
Slowly add the water, mixing until a crumbly dough beings to form; do not overwork the dough or it will be tough. Pinch a piece of dough: it should hold together. Add water or flour as necessary (in very small bits) to achieve the correct consistency.
Turn the dough on to a piece of plastic wrap. Hold the film with one hand and use your other hand to push the dough away from you until the dough is smooth and pliable. Flatten the dough to a round and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 2hrs or overnight. Leave to soften for 10 minutes before rolling out.
To bake: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll the dough out to 1/8″ thick, then line the pans you are using – whether one large tart pan or multiple small ones – with the dough. Use excess dough to reinforce any areas where the dough may have ripped.
Line the pastry case with foil and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges are set and dry. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking 5-7 minutes until golden.
Set aside crust to completely cool while preparing the filling.
1 cup greek yogurt (I used Greek Gods Orange Honey)
1/2 cup crème fraîche
Fruit Jam (optional) If you are using this option, spread the jam across the bottom of the crust while it is still warm – that way it is easier to spread, and will have a chance to solidify a bit before adding the filling.
Fresh Fruit – (I used 2 pints strawberries, 1 cup blueberries, and 1 cup raspberries)
Combine greek yogurt and crème fraîche (or just use one or the other – all depends on how you want the flavor) in a bowl and set aside.
Prepare fresh fruit as you desire. I hulled the strawberries, then cut a number in half, and the rest into slices. The raspberries and blueberries I rinsed.
Once the crust is completely cooled, spread the yogurt/crème fraîche mixture over the bottom of the crust. You can spread as thick of a layer as you would like. Next, arrange fruit artfully (plopping things on there is also considered artful, honest).
Voilà, you have an amazing fruit tart. The crust takes the most time – I tend to forget that it needs to chill for hours before doing things. I also still have the tendency to not read a recipe fully before embarking on it – especially if it’s something I have made before. Probably not the greatest idea.